Wishful Thinking (1973)
A Seeker's ABC
In Wishful Thinking, the first book in his much-loved lexical trilogy, Frederick Buechner puts the language of God, the universe, and the human spirit under his wry linguistic microscope. In his often ironic and always keen-sighted reflections on such terms as agnostic, envy, love, and sin, he invited us to look at theses everyday words in new and enlightening ways. Freshly revised and expanded for this edition, Wishful Thinking is a "beguiling" [time] adventure in language for the restless believer, the doubter, and all who love words.
"The same stylistic power, subtlety and originality that have distinguished Frederick Buechner's novels lift Wishful Thinking far above commonplace religion books nearly to the level of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters. An artist is at work here in the vineyard of theology, a wit with wisdom." — The New York Times Book Review
"Thoughtful, spirited, entertaining...a dictionary for doubters and restless believers."
— Chicago Tribune
"[Buechner] examines language about God and human life with immense perception, a great economy of words, and an engaging use of irony."
— Methodist Recorder
"Original, pungent and joyful."
— The Christian Century
"A beguiling book...Buechner handles difficult subjects (eternity, immortality, prayer) with a casual aplomb and easy analogy."
“Wishful Thinking is a new lexicon, a dictionary for the restless believer, for the doubter, for anyone who wants to redefine or define more concretely those words that have become an integral part of our daily language—words that we use about God, the universe and, last but never least, humankind. [...] With such wit and wisdom, imagination and innovation, we are led to a fuller awareness and greater understanding of the true relevance of familiar terms to each of our own lives." – Steve Petty, Senior Pastor, St. Andrew's By-the-Sea United Methodist Church, San Clemente